Chickpeas biryani (Chole biryani)

Sometime last week, one of my reader had put a request for chole biryani. When I saw it, I realized that I had read something similar to one of the recipe books I had. But when I checked it, it was more chole pulav than a biryani. For me, biryani has to have the layers of rice and some kind of masala layered and then cooked to perfection. So I searched in google and I didn’t find anything that would fit into my definition (it is possible that I didn’t search properly in my half sleepy mode). So I decided to take some inspiration from my other two biryani versions – Belgaum style chicken biryani and chicken biryani with ready made mix. Some more information about making biryanis here.

When I started, I was not very sure about the final outcome of this experiment. I tried to keep this as simple as possible. The most important thing needed for this to work out perfectly is “time”. Yes, it takes a long time to make perfect biryani. If you try to speed up the process, the biryani usually turns out mushy. So be careful.

This turned out to be absolutely delicious and flavorful. I served it with onion+tomato raita.

1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice
5-6 cups water
1/2 tea spn oil
1 tea spn salt

Heat water with salt and oil. When it starts boiling, add rice. When rice is 3/4th done, strain all water. Run the rice under cold water. Remove all water.

Masala powder:
4-5 cloves
2″ cinnamon
1 green cardamom
A small piece of nutmeg (just a tiny piece)
1/2 tea spn poppy seeds
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn cumin seeds

Roast everything and grind to powder.

Chickpea(chole) gravy:
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tea spn ginger paste
1/2 tea spn garlic paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked in pressure cooker)
1 tea spn chili powder
6-7 strands coriander leaves
3/4 tea spn masala powder (mentioned above)

Heat oil and add bay leaf, onion, ginger, garlic. Fry till onions turn brownish. Now add tomato, salt and cook till tomatoes are cooked. Add the chickpeas, masala powder, chili powder and mix well. Cook till all water is absorbed. Take off heat and add chopped coriander leaves.

Caramelized onion:
Take half cup slitted onions.

Heat a little oil and fry till they become brownish. Take out on a paper towel.

Saffron milk:
Take about 2 tbl spns of warm milk and add 7-8 strands of saffron. Let it stand for sometime to leave color.

Putting it together:
Divide rice into 3 equal parts. Divide chickpeas gravy into 2 equal parts.
Heat about 1 tbl spn of oil in a thick bottomed pan. Pour one half of the chickpeas gravy. Spread one part of rice on it. Now spread half the caramelized onion, half of remaining masala powder, one half part of saffron milk.
On top of it, spread another layer of rice. Spread a layer of gravy. Spread remaining rice on top. Top it with remaining caramelized onion, saffron milk and masala powder. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tea spn oil. Cover and cook on a medium flame.
After about 10mins, keep the vessel on a tava. and keep the tava on burner (this is mainly to give double thickness to the biryani and distribute heat evenly). Cook on medium flame till it is completely cooked.
Serve hot.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 90mins

PS: Preferably, do not use ready made ginger garlic paste for this. Fresh one is more flavorful. It can be prepared in less than 90 mins, if you use already cooked chickpeas and little bit of planning. I prepared this from scratch and was very slow, that gave the ultimate taste too.

26 Comments for “Chickpeas biryani (Chole biryani)”


Is that dum cooking? Can we bake after layering the pulao?

Shilpa: Yes Suganya, you can. Since I have not yet tried the baking method, I just cooked in a thick bottomed pan on stove top.


OMG!!!!!!!!! you actually followed such a lengthy procedure…… I admire your patience!!! The end result was worth all your effort, I’m sure :)
Looks yummy!!!!


I made a chole biryani ages ago…forgot to take any pictures :-(…I had covered and baked it in the final stage…comes out fine…yours looks so good…I’ll have to make it again :-)


Looks yum and very nutritious too with all those Chole.
I have never used ready made ginger garlic so far. Always thought they might be very vinegary.Fresh is best.


I remember my mom made this one some 10 years back when we were out of Chana Dal for Kabuli biryani. It tasted great then, have to try and recreate again. I know it’s a big effort to make Biryanis..



Never tasted this version of biryani. Knew abt it only when i saw the recipe request. Your pictures look sooooooo good, I have many guests this vacation. I will try on the weekend, before i make for guest dinner. You masala is a bit different than the usual one. Thanks for posting.


biryani, yummmmmmmm :)

btw Shilpa, for some reason i’hv to enter name, email, addr every time, any idea why?

Shilpa: Richa, I think it is related to browser. I will try again.


Are you moving? Best of luck with it. It is Xmas Eve here, and time for me to wish all of my blog friends a wonderful time with family and friends tomorrow. May it be a peaceful and blessed day where we can give a lot of joy to those around us. Have a great day.

Sowmya Venkatesh


Hi Shilpa…
can i use black chana instead of white one?

Shilpa: Sowmya, the preferred one is white. But you can use black one. One of my reader above tried with black chana and they said it tasted good.



I tried this for dinner yesterday..instead of the Masala powder, i used readymade Chole came out perfect and very delicious..this will be a regular at my home..Thanks Shilpa..



Your recipes inspires me to cook and also try out something the way you do… 😀
Your way of explaining made cooking simpler for me.
Hat’s off for the efforts you have taken to maintain the site to keep it rocking.

I am making this chickpeas biryani tomorrow.

Keep up the good work!! :)

Thanks and Regards



I made it today it tastes difrnt and vry nyc
Instead of layering biryani i mixed everythn and i hv aded 2n hlf tsp of chilli powder.

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